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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Biochar solution unlocks higher profits for poultry farms while reducing carbon emissions

WasteX carbonizer

WasteX, a climate-tech company operating in the Philippines and Indonesia, recently implemented a biochar solution at a poultry farm in West Java in collaboration with Pitik Digital Indonesia.

From January to May 2023, the pilot implementation sought to examine how biochar, a charcoal-like and carbon-rich substance derived from biomass, can boost the performance of the poultry industry and help achieve sustainable farming techniques.

It resulted in significant operational improvements for the farm.

WasteX recently implemented the same solution to a poultry farm in Cavite that belongs to one of the top agricultural producers in the Philippines. The outcomes are expected in a few months.

While still nascent in the Philippines, biochar technology has already received positive reception and full support from the government. The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), for instance, has expressed eagerness to promote biochar as a green alternative to chemical fertilizer. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on the other hand is still looking at ways to widely promote the use of biochar amongst farmers.

Biochar is produced from rice husk and poultry litter using WasteX’s proprietary equipment at one of Pitik’s farms. The biochar was then incorporated into the farm’s operations in two ways: as a bedding additive of up to 10 percent of the total bedding, and as a feed supplement of up to 2 percent of the feed.

Biochar is used as a bedding additive in a chicken farm.

The supplementation of bedding with up to 10 percent biochar led to substantial improvements in the farm’s broiler chicken production, with a 25 percent reduction in chicken mortality rate, a 30 percent decrease in overall bedding use, and the farm achieving the highest-ever recorded value in its Performance Index.

Additionally, by supplementing the feed with up to 2 percent biochar, the poultry farm experienced a near-complete eradication of the E. coli population, contributing to enhanced biosecurity measures and healthier poultry.

“The outcomes of our solution implementation at the poultry farm have exceeded our initial expectations. While we anticipated operational improvements and benefits from the generation and sale of carbon credits, the additional income and savings resulting from decreased mortality rates and reduced bedding use will far surpass the carbon credit proceeds. We are currently working with several other poultry farms in the Philippines and Indonesia to expand the implementation of our solution,” said Pawel Kuznicki, Founder and CEO of WasteX.

Rymax Joehana, co-founder and COO of Pitik, shared his positive experience working with WasteX: “We are always seeking new solutions to enhance the performance of our poultry farms. The addition of biochar to our bedding and feed has yielded multiple operational benefits. We are in detailed discussions with WasteX to explore scaling up this model, benefiting more of our Kawan Pitik farmers and improving the environmental sustainability of Pitik’s operations.”

WasteX’s pilot findings showed that total benefits for a 20,000-chicken farm would amount to more than $5,000 or P275,000 annually in additional savings and income. Given the slim margins of a typical poultry farm, adopting this new practice could significantly improve farmers’ profits and livelihood.

Furthermore, WasteX guarantees carbon credits to its clients for the entire biochar production and application, amounting to $50 or about P2,750 per metric ton of biochar. This could translate to up to $2,000 or about P110,000 per farm per year.

Biochar is entitled to carbon credits because it captures and stores carbon for extended periods to help mitigate climate change. If applied at full scale, biochar could transform the agricultural industry into a carbon-negative and climate-positive sector.

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